Cabinet Agrees to Enlarge Airport, Discusses Israeli Threats
Lebanon's government convened in a normal session on Thursday at the Presidential Palace in Baabda to tackle 93 items on its agenda, the National News Agency reported.
The meeting was chaired by President Michel Aoun in the presence of Prime Minister Saad Hariri and ministers, said NNA.
Aoun highlighted Israel's recent threats at the beginning of the meeting assuring that “Lebanon will continue its contacts to curb Israel's greed. We shall confront any assault against our land and maritime territory,” he said.
The President has also urged the Cabinet to speed up discussions on the State's budget and to complete preparations for Lebanon's participation in three upcoming conferences including the Rome II Conference, the Paris IV conference also known as the Cedar Conference and the Brussels Conference.
For his part Prime Minister Saad Hariri said: “The Higher Defense Council has taken decisions supportive of Lebanon's independence and right to defend its land. At the same time, we are working with all friendly countries and the United Nations to counter Israel's greed. We hope we reach results.”
The Cabinet then formed a panel tasked with "studying the plan for expanding the Rafik Hariri International Airport and launching the urgent phase which is estimated to cost $200 million."
It also approved the appointment of Jalal Suleiman as inspector general at the Central Inspection Bureau.
Speaking to reporters after the session, Sport and Youth Minister Mohammed Fneish of Hizbullah said: “We are keen on our rights as a state and our sovereignty over our land is nonnegotiable.”
“Our armed forces are practicing their right in defending the country's sovereignty,” he added.
Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq meanwhile announced the approval of a plan for digitizing the personal status department in partnership with the private sector.
He also said he agreed with Justice Minister Salim Jreissati to implement “a transitional and quick plan to resolve the problem of prison crowdedness.”
Speaking to reporters prior to the session, Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan of Hizbullah hailed the climate of understanding that prevailed in the country, highlighting the unanimous national position to confront any possible Israeli hostility.
For his part, Information Minister Melhem Riachi indicated that he would ask the Cabinet to allow journalists and civil servants to cast their vote on the same day, so that they would be able to participate in the electoral process and cover the polls.